Friday, May 06, 2005

Power Pop 1979-1989 - Charts & Excess

The Knack
Power Pop 1979-1989 - Charts & Excess
At the end of the 1970's, Power Pop had finally formulated itself as a genre, so it was ripe and ready to be churned into a commodity, and The Knack were just the band to do it. Signing with Capitol, after a feeding frenzy of label offers, the Knack released their debut, Get the Knack, in 1979. Essentially it was Power Pop stripped of it's heart... all fun and no introspection - and the public loved it. With its leadoff single, "My Sharona," the Knack climbed both the album and singles charts (eventually selling millions of copies around the globe), gained wide commercial acceptance, and ended up remaking the power pop scene. Similar artists also made out well, with The Romantics and The Vapors all scoring hits. But eventually folks saw the hole in the product and The Knack and their ilk were soon abandoned to the cut-out bin in what I'll call the "power pop bubble" bursting in the early 80's.

More acts who'd been working in the power pop genre also scored finally. Cheap Trick, Greg Kihn, Nick Lowe, and Rick Springfield all scored hits, but never saw the same commercial (or artistic) success following the bubble. Bands started to shy away from the 'power pop' title as a result, and much of the tarnish is on the shoulders of The Knack.

Several bands continued to write songs in the vein, even if they wouldn't say that was what they were doing out loud. Marshall Crenshaw, The Plimsouls, Todd Rundgren's Utopia, Tommy Keene, The Hoodoo Gurus, and The Smithereens all operated in 'cult' status during these times.

Elsewhere, a series of young artists (including Matthew Sweet) begin discovering Big Star, The Raspberries, and The Move which would eventually lead to the American power pop revival of the 90's.

Next:
Power Pop 1990-1999 - 90s Flourish
Power Pop 1999-? - New Centurians
Power Pop Covers

Previously:
Power Pop 1966-1978 - Pioneers

3 comments:

drake leLane said...

Power Pop 1979-1989 - Charts & Excess

* "My Sharona" - The Knack
* "Da-a-a-ance" - The Lambrettas
* "Cruel To Be Kind" - Nick Lowe
* "When I Look In Your Eyes" - The Romantics
* "I Wanna Destroy You" - The Soft Boys
* "Is That Love" - Squeeze
* "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em)" - Greg Kihn
* "Someday Someway" - Marshall Crenshaw
* "Jessie's Girl" - Rick Springfield
* "I Can't Take It" - Cheap Trick
* "A Million Miles Away" - The Plimsouls
* "Hero Takes A Fall" - The Bangles
* "Couldn't I Just Tell You" - Utopia
* "Bittersweet" - Hoodoo Gurus
* "Behind The Wall Of Sleep" - The Smithereens
* "New Thing" - Enuff Z'Nuff
* "When I Feel Again - (single remix)" - Matthew Sweet

Amanda said...

Dear Drake,

You. Rule.

Your friend,
Amanda

drake leLane said...

Hey... I just discovered (too late) another great 1980's Power Pop band:
The Deal

If you're even reading comments here you should really check out the release in Rhapsody, Goodbye September, which is a compilation of recordings from 1980-1986.

Good stuff.

Another tragic story, though, as main songwriter committed suicide about ten years ago after achieving a little success co-writing with Dave Matthews.